Also called Pek Muhterem Hanımefendi on occasion. Photographer. Thinks. Writes. Gives many damns.

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  1. "I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE AUDITORS. I CARE ABOUT THE REFUGEES."

     -

    Things I Never Thought I’d Say Vol. 5

    I snapped. At my superior. And I wielded this sentence like a punch. He paused for a while to consider the situation. We are running headlong into a deadline where the pressure appears to be more about meeting targets and requirements for the auditors because, heaven forbid, we disappoint our donors who are sitting comfortably in their peaceful capitals. The beneficiaries/ guests/ refugees (pick your term of preference) are an after thought.

    I am not implying, suggesting or claiming that accountability and transparency should be foregone in any sector. Where emphasis is placed by management tends to reveal the underlying value system. I am witnessing too many brilliant colleagues who are caught between ever more rocks and ever harder places; between trying to satisfy donor requirements and adhere to their own sense of duty towards the people under their care.

  2. Four years ago today, I lost my grandfather. I love this photo of us; it was the first time I met my mother’s parents.
I remember the day he died did not come as a shock. My mother had called me a week before, “Deden hastaneye kaldırıldı” and I could hear in her voice that it was time. The entire extended family began arriving in Malatya to bid their respects before this wonderful patriarch (and he was wonderful) passed away.  Four years ago today, I lost my grandfather. I love this photo of us; it was the first time I met my mother’s parents.
I remember the day he died did not come as a shock. My mother had called me a week before, “Deden hastaneye kaldırıldı” and I could hear in her voice that it was time. The entire extended family began arriving in Malatya to bid their respects before this wonderful patriarch (and he was wonderful) passed away. 
    High Resolution

    Four years ago today, I lost my grandfather. I love this photo of us; it was the first time I met my mother’s parents.

    I remember the day he died did not come as a shock. My mother had called me a week before, “Deden hastaneye kaldırıldı” and I could hear in her voice that it was time. The entire extended family began arriving in Malatya to bid their respects before this wonderful patriarch (and he was wonderful) passed away. 

  3. "

    Well, because it’s the embodiment of the American Dream, which we’d like to believe is still in good shape. But it’s not.

    It’s the same reason people play the lottery. People have a wildly unrealistic idea of their chances of winning. This notion that a kid can go to Harvard: The chances that it’s going to be your kid are infinitesimal. It’s easier to set up a lottery that gives people the illusion that they have a chance, and that doesn’t cost me or you any money, than to make the kinds of commitments in terms of taxation that are actually going to hurt, that are going to take money out of affluent people’s pockets, to create a system where people really do have a decent chance.

    "

     -

    William Deresiewicz, talking about the current state of the higher education system in the US and how Ivy League schools turn out a risk-averse, timid, self-serving elite.

    This conversation strikes a chord. My mother is only a high school graduate, and her parents received even less education. My father, on the other hand, has a PhD from one of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious universities. There is a prevailing bias that towards those who have more education are somehow more ‘worthy’ or ‘superior’ to others. It took me some time to realise that the ability to manipulate the formal education system was no measure of someone’s intellect or ability to be succeed in life. 

    Some years back when I was considering doing a master’s degree I asked my father for his thoughts. He said, “That is an option. But I don’t think you’re stupid enough to put up with going through university again.” He is a man who is frugal with his praise and compliments, and this meant the world to me.  

  4. "At least she is alive. And I don’t think IS would behead women. It’s not their “style”."

     -

    Things I Never Thought I’d Say Vol. 4

    I said this to comfort a colleague upon forwarding her a news article confirming what I had heard from other sources. As the words fell from my mouth, I couldn’t believe what I was saying. But it was better than silence. 

  5. Today was spent on a road less travelled. Today was spent on a road less travelled.
    High Resolution

    Today was spent on a road less travelled.

  6. Found: Blood on the Ground

  7. Cindy Gallop: Make love, not porn

    I’ve only just discovered Cindy Gallop and her work. 

    If I ever have children, rather than trying to prevent them from looking at porn - because let’s face it, that’s not going to work unless I ensure that they have no internet access ever - I am going to show them Make Love Not Porn, (and probably unwittingly prove in the process that Mummy is not ‘old-fashioned’ in her understanding of sex and porn). 

  8. I just hugged a friend good-bye. I hugged her very tightly. 

    She about to start a journey to try to get to Europe through illegal means. She has exhausted all other possibilities, spent hours scouring official websites of embassies and filling out immigration forms. But to no avail. There is so much that can go wrong with her odyssey: capsizing boats, detention centres, human traffickers, border police, mafia, deportation, death.   

    • Susan: So you're saying that humans need fantasies to make life bearable?
    • DEATH: No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the fallen angel meets the rising ape.
    • Susan: With Toothfairies? Hogfathers?
    • DEATH: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
    • Susan: So we can believe the big ones?
    • DEATH: Yes. Justice, Mercy, Duty. That sort of thing.
  9. "People look for proof of their beliefs when they are young, when they are charged with hope. Many give up at what seems a very early age. They prefer the comfort of denial, of nothing with a small ‘n’, a rubbish nothing, easily shouldered aside by music, appetites, money, entertainment and controversy culture, stuff."

     - A great piece by poet Robert Twigger on silence in the Sahara. I have always had a thing for deserts and expansive arid landscapes. I remember when traveling through the UK when I was young, I would find the constant peak of a building or the abundance of trees nearly claustrophobic. 
  10. "When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. “This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar” she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?"

     -

    Sandi Toksvig

    (via breathe-squeeze-follow-through)

  11. I’m listening to this song a lot these days. It has this edgy boredom that reminds me of a time where I seemed to have endless time but no money. 

  12. "The Russian slang word for a gangster is ‘biznizman’, and many ordinary Russians are unable to understand the difference between a businessman and a crook."

     - Brian Johnson-Thomas, a UN weapons inspector who met Victor Bout, otherwise known as the Merchant of Death, in 1996. A biopic of Victor Bout will be released later on this month.
  13. "What continues to amaze and irritate those charged with the task of forcing Egypt to see the irrefutable logic of choosing the new orthodoxy of development (neoliberlalism) as the way out of the current impasse is that Egyptian decision makers remain surprisingly unwilling to take the requisite steps to put the program in place. One such individual, an official in the economic section of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, had become so frustrated by the end of his posting that he resorted to racialist interpretations. He bemoaned to the author that the inability of Egyptians to grasp the seriousness of their plight and to comprehend that liberalization offered the only real hope for salvation was due to a deterioration of their racial stock as a result of generations of endogamous marriages and immigration of the more talented."

     - Robert Springborg, “Mubarak’s Egypt” (via postcolonialfeminist)
  14. "Allah’tan umut kesilmez; lojistikten kesilir."

     -

    Things I Never Thought I’d Say Vol. 3

    A bit tricky to translate but this is as close as I can get to the heart of the meaning: “In God we trust; in logistics we don’t.” This is a reflection on how I feel most days. 

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